January 15, 2024
A few short weeks ago, the City of Guelph attended the COP 28 conference in Dubai. This provided a perfect opportunity for the City to fulfill climate change commitments dating back to December 2021. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur.
As a result, eMERGE brought together Guelph physicians and community groups, to send the following letter to Guelph City Hall.
Mon, Jan 15, 2024 at 1:02 PM
To: Mayor Cam Guthrie ,Councillor Erin Caton, Councillor Dan Gibson, Councillor Rodrigo Goller, Councillor Carly Klassen, Councillor Phil Allt, Councillor Michele Richardson, Councillor Christine Billings, Councillor Linda Busuttil, Councillor Leanne Caron, Councillor Cathy Downer, Councillor Ken Yee Chew, Councillor Dominique O’Rourke
Re: City of Guelph’s recent involvement at COP 28
Dear Mayor Guthrie and members of Guelph City Council,
We are very pleased to hear Mr. Mayor of your recent participation, with staff, at the UN COP 28 Climate Conference in Dubai.
These climate conferences are critical for countries – and cities – to establish commitments and address your declaration of a Climate Emergency.
It’s encouraging that the Government of Canada took this opportunity to announce emissions caps for the oil and gas sector, as well as targets for phasing out fossil fuel burning vehicles. The conference in Dubai helps address the urgency of reducing emissions that are causing climate change. This international gathering also offers solutions. The conference gave participants opportunities to see creative and innovative solutions cities around the world are using to reduce emissions towards a green and sustainable future.
With this experience we believe this is the perfect occasion for City Council to offer leadership in bringing this issue forward as a central concern, inspiring the community as a whole to tackle this critical issue.
In December 2021, the City of Guelph committed to establishing interim targets for all emissions in Guelph. In the opinion of concerned citizens of Guelph, like ourselves, this is the perfect time with COP still fresh in our mind, to complete the still missing emissions targets. We note that, according to senior staff, these targets are simple mathematical projections.
The City of Guelph has interim targets for the City’s Corporate (operational) emissions for 2026 and 2030. While the City is diligently working on this front, we know that this addresses less than 3% of community wide emissions. Unfortunately, what is missing is the 2026 interim community emission target that would address over 97% of emissions. Other Ontario cities already have such community targets.
We ask that you fulfill your previous commitment from two years ago , Mr. Mayor, and City Council, to direct staff to establish interim 2026 community wide targets and establishing a process to work with the broader community to reach these goals in the spirit of the work that you and staff conducted while in Dubai a few weeks ago.
Know that citizens groups have an appetite to support and encourage good climate initiatives and we will add our voices and hands to this task.
We look forward to you establishing these targets and your response to our request.
Guelph Green Council of the Guelph Family Health Team
Dr. David Cranmer MD
Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik MD
Dr. Karen Slatkovsky, MD
Democracy Guelph – Kevin Bowman
eMERGE Guelph Sustainability – Evan Ferrari
Guelph Climate Action Network – Donna Jennison
Get Involved Guelph – Stan Kozak
Guelph Students for Environmental Change – Taylor Azzopardi
Guelph Wellington Coalition for Social Justice – Karen Rathwell
Justice and Outreach Committee of Dublin St. United Church – John Lawson
KAIROS Guelph – Elizabeth Snell
Protect Our Moraine – Mike Marcolongo
Water Watchers – Arlene Slocombe
Yorklands Greenhub Lynn Bestari
MP Llyoyd Longfield
MPP Mike Schreiner
What you can do:
Contact your City Councillor and insist that they fulfill Council’s two-year-old commitment by taking the following actions:
- Propose a motion to direct the staff to establish interim 2026 community-wide targets immediately.
- Establish a process to collaborate with the broader community to achieve these goals, taking inspiration from the work conducted by the Mayor and staff in Dubai recently.
- Fund this initiative without impacting the budget. This can be achieved by reallocating the funds (approximately $300,000) returned to the City from the closure of Our Energy Guelph. Note that these funds have been allocated to supplement the Guelph Greener Homes Loan Program. While this loan program is important, it would only assist another 20-25 homes at best. Those funds could potentially be used more effectively by seeking ways to leverage them into more aggressive GHG reduction efforts in the community